Kathy Watson has a love/hate relationship with grammar; she loves words and the punctuation that helps them make sense, yet she hates those pesky rules. A self-proclaimed ruthless editor, she prefers standard usage guidelines of The Associated Press Stylebook. Her easy-to-use Grammar for People Who Hate Rules helps people write and speak with authority and confidence. She encourages and welcomes questions and comments. (Email)
Inaccurate placement of the modifier only continues to abound.
I’ve written about only before, and I’ve continued to save examples. Those with a misplaced only far outweigh those where only is in the right spot: closest to the word it modifies. Because the margin is so great, I’m climbing back onto my soapbox. Continue →
How can you not think of Santa Claus when you read or hear that eruption of laughter?!
A recent post by Mark Nichol at Daily Writing Tips suggests that a trio of ho’s represents “full-bodied mirth.”
Santa’s “Ho, ho, ho!” gives rise to thoughts of other ways we express laughter, in both speaking and writing. The amusement that prompts laughter presents a grammatical challenge: When we write about laughter, how do we spell and punctuate it? Continue →
Was I ever surprised when I hopped online to do some cursory research about the “weak” verb to be. I thought it was a simple and straightforward topic, but I learned otherwise. (I hate it when someone tries to complicate what I think should be simple.)
Some grammarians had delved deeper than I had, providing even more reasons toavoid using to be and its many forms: is, are, was, were, will be, should be, would be, have been, had been, etc.
As we venture into that time of year we refer to as “the holidays,” let’s take a moment to have a little fun with grammar. The tiny word UP has more uses than you might guess. It can be an adverb, a preposition, an adjective, a noun and a verb.
As often as UP appears in this post, this Ruthless Editor must point out that UP often is redundant.
Yet UP is so ingrained in our vernacular that sometimes even I don’t give it a thought. How about you? Are you UP for it? Continue →